Don't sleep on the importance of your bedtime climate. While you might throw caution to the wind, literally, and fall asleep with your window open during the middle of the summer – science suggests that playing with the thermostat a little bit before bed can make all the difference.
Growing up, I never really thought about the impact of sleeping temperature past individual comfort. If I could fall asleep comfortably, I figured I was sleeping as optimally as possible.
Having said that, once I did a little digging – and explored more of the science behind the matter – I'm no longer so naive.
According to Dr. Chris Winter of Huffington Post, science dictates that temperatures between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal sleeping conditions.
That's cool for all the "cold sleepers" out there, but if you're one of the many who requires a few extra jacquard blankets – you might find yourself out in the cold, literally.
But don't fret. Although it might take a period of adjustment, research shows that sleeping under cooler temperatures will pay dividends in a variety of different ways. Here are just a few to get you started.
You lessen your risk of metabolic disease.
By sleeping at cooler temperatures, your body will thank you. According to a study published in Diabetes, lowering your thermostat a few degrees before bed can help decrease your risk of certain metabolic diseases, such as diabetes.
In this study, researchers conducted an experiment comparing the blood sugar/insulin levels and caloric expenditures of test subjects sleeping at 75, and 66 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively.
After four months of testing, researchers concluded that those subjects sleeping in the 66-degree condition room experienced a number of metabolic advantages. After periods of sleeping in a colder environment, the amount of “brown fat” – or, good fat – of test subjects almost doubled.
Additionally, colder-sleepers also burned more calories throughout their day, as Gretchen Reynolds of the New York Times writes. In conjunction, these two relationships could lessen the risk of diabetes and other types of metabolic conditions, over time.
You'll stay looking younger.
According to naturopathic doctor and bestselling author Natasha Turner, sleeping under conditions that are warmer than 70 degrees will inhibit your body from cooling down naturally, through sleep and the release of melatonin.
Melatonin is atop the body's most crucial anti-aging hormones, and when it's released at night – after exposure to total darkness – the body will react naturally, with a drop in temperature.
In direct response to this drop in temperature, the body will also pump out elevated levels of growth hormone – another critical anti-aging hormone. As greater amounts of these hormones are released into the body, you will look, and even feel, younger.
You'll fall asleep easier.
In addition to the health benefits provided by sleeping amidst a cooler climate, there are a number of practical advantages, too, such as actually getting to sleep faster. According to Kathleen Doheny of WebMD Magazine, when we go to sleep, the desired temperature of our bodies drops.
When your sleeping conditions are too hot, or too cold for that matter, your body will have an increasingly difficult time moderating your “internal thermostat,” so to speak. This might keep you awake and restless for a period of time, counting sheep, before you finally find yourself able to hit the proverbial hay.
If bodies cannot reach their desired goal of temperature regulation, it is likely that they also won't reach deep sleep relative to that achieved in a cooler room.
Sleeping naked will help cool you down.
One way to cool your body temperature down at night, outside of touching the thermostat, is to strip yourself down. I'm talking about sleeping naked, here. By sleeping sans clothes, your body temperature will drop, and subsequently your body will have an easier time regulating its own temperature.
By sleeping nude, you'll sleep cooler – and by sleeping cooler, your body will also produce less cortisol throughout the night. Cortisol, a naturally occurring hormone, is associated with stress and weight gain.
By keeping your cortisol levels down low, you'll also find yourself moderating your appetite and anxiety, while you're at it.
Sleeping naked with someone can help, too... in other ways.
There are a slew of other health benefits that accompany the act of skinny-sleeping, specifically with another person. According to Sarah Thomas of the International Business Times, couples who sleep naked together experience more contented relationships when compared to their more modest counterparts.
As told by Thomas, couples who sleep together nude will experience more open, intimate relationships. Additionally, skin to skin contact – a notion certainly promoted through sleeping naked – releases a hormone called oxytocin.
Oxytocin, which is associated with sexual responsiveness, can also improve one's individual health and psyche.
The presence of oxytocin in the body can help combat stress and other forms of depression, as well as lower one's blood pressure. Bam, if that's not enough reason to sleep naked – I don't know what is.